Kathleen Merrigan

Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, George Washington University

Kathleen Merrigan is the Executive Director of Sustainability at the George Washington University, where she leads the GW Sustainability Collaborative, GW Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy. Dr. Merrigan is co-chair of AGree, Board Director of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and Food Corps, and steering committee member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment. Kathleen was Deputy Secretary and COO of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (2009-2013), where she led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems, was a key architect of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, and was the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 

Prior to USDA, she was a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and served on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food. Dr. Merrigan holds a Ph.D. in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MPA from the University of Texas, and a B.A.from Williams College. Time Magazine named Merrigan among the “100 most influential people in the world” in 2010.